An hour in the company of Dandy Darkly and his new show, Trigger Happy, is not for the overly sensitive. Stories surge like a sequinned tsunami, crushing the construction of social normality, exposing the anaesthetising effect of consumerism, holding up an ugly-mirror to our deepest fears and tumbling it in a carnivalesque nightmare.
Each story soars and dips like psilocybin-enriched skylarks. Alliteration and wordplay abound and Darkly’s poetic prose never misses a beat. It’s a while before it’s apparent that the background music is part of the delivery; Darkly uses it to great effect whilst still maintaining a fair degree of spontaneous interaction with the audience. His verbal dexterity is astonishing; this show is for hard-core lovers of the spoken word.
At one point, Darkly stops proceedings to deal with two men who rudely chat, but resumes his story with admirable alacrity. The tale may make mention of sodomy and werewolves, but it contextually highlights the problems of macho social norms and post traumatic stress disorder. Odd bedfellows, you might think, but Darkly sews a tragic yet sympathetic thread through all his pieces.
What you see is a grotesque character who might have high-kicked its way out of your worst, troubling dreams. What you get are superbly crafted tales in the American tradition, intricately woven with deeply thoughtful social commentary and a splash of satire, delivered with the panache of New York sass combined with the charm of Southern warmth. Even though it is a scathing indictment of contemporary American society, Dandy Darkly offers a loving acceptance of humanity in all its forms, and somehow there’s a star-spangled glimmer of hope on which to contemplate.